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Long flights with fuel cells

Discussion in 'News' started by Jenn348, Mar 20, 2015.

  1. Jenn348

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    http://www.suasnews.com/2015/03/34801/energyor-demonstrate-fuel-cell-powered-multirotor/

    a 10 hour flight could certainly be useful. I wonder if one could be made to fit the Inspire and if the software could be modified to support it?

    Once newer drones could be made to fly beyond LOS, I could see nearly endless applications. Imagine sending one from Dallas to Phoenix to carry documents, or to deliver medicines not available locally.

    Damn, we left the kid's toy at your house. No problem, I'll have the drone drop it off.
     
  2. sirnikolas

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    That would be awesome! The first thing I'd do is fly my I1 from Melbourne to Go Professional Cases in the US and have them recharge the battery then hang a landing mode GPC under it and I'd fly her back. Imagine all the money you'd save in shipping costs :)
     
  3. PetePerrim

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    Yes, true Jenn however you might strike problems when your iPad battery goes flat after 45 minutes!
     
  4. The Editor

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  5. AlexanderAF

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    I work in the labs in solar and battery/fuel cell technology for spacecraft. If this has stable funding and the company has a clear transition path for this technology, this will be 3-5 years out for high-end practical commercial applications and probably 10 years out for consumer use. Unfortunately battery and power cell technology has not kept pace with other tech.

    Hopefully I am not a buzzkill...
     
  6. mdomeny

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  7. InspiredOne

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    What about the motors? How long could they endure several hours as opposed to a few minutes?
     
  8. Meta4

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  9. Jimmyholster

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    sirnikolas likes this.
  10. InspiredOne

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    That's encouraging. Is there an average lifespan for these motors (I know, they're new)? On some engines they attribute X-number of hours.
     
  11. damoncooper

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    DJI should reach out to EnergyOr and see if there isn't some kind of partnership that might lead to a PEM fuel cell option for their prosumer and pro multirotor lineup.

    4-hour fuel cells would certainly be something a lot of folks would be interested in, even if they needed a special Hydrogen charger. It's be pricey for sure, but I think there'd still be interest.
     
    southerndoug likes this.
  12. The Editor

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    The motor (and indeed all brushless motors) have pretty much unlimited lifespan since there are no moving parts in them. The exception is the bearings (usually an upper and a lower) which will wear after a given amount of time. Most good quality motor manufacturers will rate their bearings for somewhere between 80-100 hours. That's not to say they will fail at that point but it is advisable to change them around that age..... It is a VERY easy change on all motors I have come across (haven't tried the E800's on the Inspire yet) so I do not envisage a problem.
    Getting them as spares will probably be the biggest problem but at a push (and a more expensive option) you could just replace the motors if any bearings were showings signs or wear.
     
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  13. InspiredOne

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    Thanks for the explanation--just what I needed to know. Checked the cost--$55 per motor doesn't sound too bad, when the time comes.

    Are there any warning signs of a motor being on the verge of pooping out?
     
  14. The Editor

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    Usually the first sign is a motor will feel warmer than the others immediately after landing...... It's good practice to immediately touch each motor housing as soon as you land with a finger to see if any of them are running warm.
    The other thing to watch for is vibration and noise. Additionally, pre flight just feel each motors rotational resistance to turning it by hand...... They should all feel even and turn freely. If one is stiffer to turn or feels 'gritty' to rotate it's a sign the bearings are worn.
     
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  15. InspiredOne

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    Great information. :) Thanks for sharing!